Shane Richie ready to quit the square
Shane Richie is ready to leave EastEnders.
The 52-year-old actor - who joined the square in 2002 - is questioning his role on the popular TV soap and expanding his portfolio with other acting pursuits which could be in preparation for a potential exit from the show.
A source said: "He has really enjoyed going off and working on other acting projects, and if he wants to go, there's nothing the BBC can do to stop him."
The star plays the happy-go-lucky Alfie Moon who is suffering from a brain tumour and has left the square temporarily with his on-screen wife Kat - played by Jesse Wallace, 43 - to film a six-part spin-off series set in Ireland.
The insider told The Sun on Sunday newspaper: "The BBC knows how much of a favorite Alfie is and wouldn't dream of axing him. But he has started to question his future as Alfie."
Back in May the actor denied that he was making a permanent exit from EastEnders but explained that the spin-off series was an opportunity to expand the show's potential.
He said: "We want to create something big around them (Kat and Alfie). EastEnders as a brand can afford to do it and I've always wanted to do something like that.
"It's not just about Kat and Alfie. We've created a whole new world and a new lot of characters. The writers have created a really lovely, interesting world, but also with our style of storytelling."
BBC bosses have denied that Shane is due to quit the soap.